How is the Agricultural University helping farmers to increase production?
Universities in India are working on three mandatory functions: teaching, technology generation through research and transmission of technology through extension activity. As per the farming community is concerned; they chose transmission of technology through extension activity. Technology is useless to unless we bring them to the farmer. We have Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) system and Regional Agricultural Extension System both are closely working with the Department of Agriculture under Govt of Maharashtra or with the respective state government. Such extension activity is generating more productivity and declining the cost of production.
what are the methods available for farmers to make crops as climate-resilient crop?
Climate change is the cause of concern from sometime back. There is a lot of disturbance in rainfall distribution and in every alternate year either we fall short of the average rainfall or excess distribution to a particular area. We are working on climate resilient technology to bring a solution for farmers. Even our university, which is present in the marathwada region where 85% of agriculture is a rain-dependent farming. So, dryland agriculture has been our prime focus and focusing on how to reuse the available water by using In-Situ Soil Moisture Conservation and rainwater conservation.
What steps are taken to eradicate the use of pesticide from entering the food chain?
There are two approaches either you can minimize the use or completely give away the pesticide use. Best way to eradicate by using Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach that speaks on using other alternative use of the pesticide for plant protection and pesticide is used as a last resource and that too those pesticides which is having minimum ecological hazards. And technology for each crop is available separately. Another method is organic agriculture where no uses of pesticide are used by using plant-based pesticides like neem, nicotiana plants, plant sterols, urushiol, etc.
Why did the prices for the farmer hardly rise in the past year despite increase in cost of production?
It is the reality of today and a cause of concern to all of us. Such issue can be tackled by two ways: one is by providing our farmer with necessary skills, procedures and technology and other way by physiological support for farmers. Our university is implementing the program very effective in such areas like “UMED” under this program we go to the villages with staffs and schools children with us and girl students are in forefront convincing their parents and villagers not to commit suicide in any situation. During the last years, we have reached 1000+ villages and not a single case has been registered during those periods.
Why is no strict action taken against the violators of Minimum Purchase Prise (MSP)?
MSP is one approach of farming profitable but that is not the end of everything. But the Govt has to look from two angles, one from a consumer point of view and another from the producer’s point of view. The program should be in balance between both party. It has its own limitation that we must appreciate it. But the Govt is doing relatively better in food items like wheat, rice and pulses, and also a procurement agency is present to look upon it. But rising the MSP is absolutely is not a solution at all. In a free economy like today, unless and until we give farmer necessary skills, and approaches for putting more value addition, processing, packaging, presentation standard in the consumer market. As a university focusing on such issue and hope that we can fine-tune the entire fare of production to consumption. Also, Govt can also support in terms of policy support like appropriate import-export policy, we can restrict the outside products and promote the export of our farmer products. Even many farmers producing company has come up to boost the production scale.